North Down Deputy Mayor Councillor Stephen has welcomed the publication today of a NIO Consultation Paper on Race Crime and Sectarian Crime Legislation in Northern Ireland.
Speaking after attending the consultation launch at the Indian Community Centre in Belfast, Cllr Farry said:
“Alliance has been campaigning for the introduction of Hate Crime Laws in Northern Ireland for several years. We are pleased that the NIO have now responded with this consultation paper.
“Hate crimes based on sectarianism have been a tragic reality life in Northern Ireland for many years. The brutal crucifixion of Harry McCartan in Dunmurry was only the latest example of this problem. Sadly, racist attacks are also on the increase in this society.
“Sectarian and racist crimes do not just affect the direct victims, but spread fear throughout the community, and offend the values of a shared, inclusive society. Legislation could provide for stiffer sentences when a sectarian or racist motive behind a criminal offence can be established in court. These laws would cover attacks against both the person and property.
“Such measures have been employed in Great Britain since 1998. A Home Office sponsored study has recently vindicated these laws. It is time to extend this protection to Northern Ireland. Alliance would call for people to respond enthusiastically to this consultation and for the Government to legislate speedily thereafter.”